From Rights to Realities: Confronting the Challenge of Educating Persons with Disabilities in Developing Countries

  • Paula Beckman University of Maryland College Park
  • Nicole Abera University of Maryland College Park
  • Thomas Sabella University of Maryland College Park
  • Kimberly Podzimek University of Maryland College Park
  • Lenisa Joseph University of Maryland College Park
Keywords: disabilities, developing countries, inclusion, low and middle income countries, local realities

Abstract

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been the catalyst for countless national policies around the world which focus on increased participation of individuals with disabilities in educational and community settings. Despite these national and international policies, most children with disabilities in developing countries are out-of-school. This manuscript examines local factors which make it difficult to address the needs of individuals with disabilities in developing nations.  We begin by describing the link between global poverty and disability and a summary of relevant international agreements.  We then describe common barriers to the realization of these agreements that have been reported in a number of studies.  In addition to relevant literature on this topic, we highlight examples that have emerged from studies conducted in El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Liberia to illustrate salient issues about the topic.  The studies revealed some common barriers to educational access that are consistent with the relatively limited literature conducted in local contexts.  Recommendations for addressing these challenges include focusing on public acceptance and awareness, seeking community voice, connection, and support, providing training that is practical, functional, and widely available, investing in systems for transportation, and improving the overall quality of programming.

                                              

Author Biographies

Paula Beckman, University of Maryland College Park

Professor

Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education

University of Maryland College Park

Nicole Abera, University of Maryland College Park

Graduate

Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education

Thomas Sabella, University of Maryland College Park

Doctoral Student

Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education

Kimberly Podzimek, University of Maryland College Park

Graduate,

Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education

Lenisa Joseph, University of Maryland College Park

Graduate

Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education

Published
2016-09-03